The All Progressives Congress (APC) characterized the 2023 budget presented by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to the Sokoto state house of Assembly as a cover-up without regard for the voters.
Alhaji Isah Sadeeq Achida, chairman of the APC in Sokoto state, said this at a press conference held on Tuesday at the state party headquarters on Sultan Abubakar road in Sokoto.
He found it distressing that the Governor has not commented on the performance of the 2022 budget, but has instead buried information regarding his administration’s inability to resist public scrutiny.
“You may wish to recall that a few days ago, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal presented before the State House of Assembly, what he chose to call, a “Budget of consolidation and finishing strong”. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a Cover-up exercise with no consideration for the electorate.”
“What we saw, was nothing but the misplacement of priorities, a bundle of contradictions and aims to uplift the personal comfort of political office holders, over and above providing essential services to the people.”
“We find it difficult to reconcile how a Government that sold most of our choice Houses at giveaway prices, without caring to disclose the amount realized from the sales, now turn around to purchase a few dilapidated structures at Nicon Quarters for 300 Million Naira.
There is also the case of duplication of projects, where a road project (Dogondaji to Sabawa), quoted at 600million naira was also duplicated at One Naira”
Achida added that a close examination of the Budget presentation reveals that the major sectors of Education, Health, and Agriculture, which were touted as receiving the lion’s share of allocations, were demoted to insignificant percentages in the Capital breakdown.
He added that the Education sector, which had been reported as receiving 18% of the sectoral allocation, actually received less than 3% of the Capital allocation.
According to him, the payment of 914 million nairas for help to Covid19 victims appears questionable at this time, given that the impact of Covid in Sokoto State was quite minimal. The fact that even the federal government has loosened the Covid 19 Protocol is a strong sign that the hazard has drastically diminished.
It would have been preferable, he said, if the covid-19 allocation had been intended to cushion the effects of poverty inflicted on the people of Sokoto State by seven years of PDP administration, since a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics placed Sokoto at the top of the poverty table among all the states of the Federation.
“We in the Sokoto State APC have been following developments in the State House of Assembly with keen interest where there has been a standoff, arising from moves to secure loans by the Sokoto State Government, which has met a stiff resistance from APC legislative members in the house”.
“A total of 89 billion naira loans have been approved by the house since its inauguration after the last Elections, without commensurate performance to justify further securing of additional loans”.
“In the latest request, the APC house members insisted that the political heads of the relevant Ministries or departments should be invited to brief the house on the desirability of the loans to provide the basis for oversight function by the members, as well as afford them the opportunity to know the relevant accounting officers and political leaders to hold responsible, should the loans be misappropriated or misapplied.” Says APC Chairman.
“We in the APC wish to align ourselves with our members in the Sokoto State House of Assembly and stand in solidarity with them where we
wish to strongly advise the lender Banks Not to Grant the loans being applied for, as doing so will be at their own risk. As a popular wise saying goes, “To be forewarned, is to be forearmed “. Achida cautioned.